One of my husbands favorite salads is this creamy pasta salad.  I found this recipe on a couple years ago and it’s been one of those recipes I find myself making again and again.  We like this alongside grilled chicken with a garden salad but it will accompany most any meal.  It’s tastier than anything you can make from a box and you can add different veggies to change it up and make it a bit healthier.

You’ll need a box of pasta, mayo, red wine vinegar, olive oil, Italian dressing mix, sugar, olives, artichokes, red pepper and parmesan cheese.

First things first, I had extra red peppers which I planned to roast, seal and freeze.  I took the red peppers and roasted them over the open flame of a gas grill turning often until all sides were charred.  When they were done, I placed them in a plastic bag to steam for 20 – 30 minutes.  Once they had sufficiently steamed I placed them under running water and the skin just peeled off.  I set aside the pepper I planned on using for the salad and vacuum sealed the rest to put up in the freezer.

Next step is to make the salad dressing.  If you can’t get the Penzey’s Italian dressing mix, Good Seasons will do.  (FYI, Good Seasons Italian Dressing packet measures about 2 tablespoons so you could just use the entire package instead).  I put a tablespoon of each into a medium sized bowl.

Add a tablespoon of red wine vinegar.

Add 2 tablespoons olive oil, 6 tablespoons water, and 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar.

Whisk it all together.

To make it a creamy dressing add 4 tablespoons mayo and whisk until well combined.

Trust me, this is so good!  Set in the fridge while the pasta is cooking.

Cook the pasta according to package directions.

Drain the pasta once it’s done cooking.

I cut the artichokes into smaller bites, diced the roasted red pepper and 1/2 of the can of olives.

I poured the pasta into my new bowl.  I got it at the thrift shop for .99 cents and thought it was cute.  All my guys give me grief over it though, they think it’s girly!  Well, I happen to like it.

Toss your artichokes, red peppers and olives into the pasta.  You can add other things too, spinach which will wilt slightly in the hot pasta, fresh tomatoes, cooked broccoli, anything you like.

Drench the pasta in Italian dressing.

Take a handful of fresh grated parmesan cheese and sprinkle over top.  I also had some pine nuts in the fridge and sprinkled on a few as well.

Artichoke Pasta Salad, adapted from Patrick’s Artichoke Pasta Salad on

12 ounces Pasta, Rotini works well
1 Red Bell Pepper, roasted, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 can Artichoke Hearts, diced
1/2 can Black Olive, chopped
2 tablespoons Italian Dressing mix (either Penzey’s or Good Seasons)
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
1 tablespoon Red Wine Vinegar
6 tablespoons Water
1 1/2 teaspoons Sugar
4 tablespoons Mayonaise
Fresh Grated Parmesan Cheese for topping

Roast the red pepper over a gas grill or roast in the broiler at 500 degrees turning frequently until all sides are charred.  Place pepper in a plastic bag to steam for 20 – 30 minutes.   Place pepper under running water to gently remove skin stem and seeds.  Chop pepper and set aside.

Make salad dressing by mixing together Italian dressing mix, olive oil, red wine vinegar, water and sugar in a medium bowl.  Whisk in mayonaise until all ingredients are well combined.

Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain pasta, add artichokes, roasted red pepper and olives.  Pour salad dressing over pasta and vegetables.  Stir to combine.  Sprinkle fresh grated parmesan cheese over top.

Refrigerate pasta.

Makes 8 servings.